book sale

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4 Events to Help you Sell Books

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You’ve heard us talk about the importance of a book launch for both marketing and sales. But what about after the launch party? Do you retreat to your website, social media, and Amazon vendor page in the hopes of selling the rest of your books from a distance? No! You get out there, meet more people, and sell that book in person!

1. The Reading

Writers have flocked to coffee shops, libraries, and nonprofits to share their work – published or not – for years. At readings with multiple writers or authors, you get the chance to convince someone else’s audience to buy your book too. Try to find reading opportunities within a particular category or genre to maximize the audience cross-over potential.

Whatever you do, don’t bore your audience. Good readers can sell lots of books. Bad readers will make audiences fall asleep. Check out these tips for improving your reading techniques!

2. School Visits

For all of the Children’s and YA authors out there, school visits can be especially powerful ways to market your book. However, presenting in schools can be tricky. Limited budgets and lots of red tape can make it difficult to get your foot in the door. Check out these tips to make the process easier:

–       Make a list of all the (relevant) schools in your area. Find out which ones belong to the same district because you may be able to contact the district office to schedule instead of each individual school.

–      Offer to host workshops for students. Put together a proposal ahead of time that clearly describes the age group you will be targeting, what kinds of activities you will do, and how much time you think you need. Check out this awesome website for ideas!

–      Ask to participate in the school book fair (You may have to purchase the right to do this).

–      Connect with teachers and counselors. They can sometimes write grants to bring in speakers, particularly if they are local authors.

–      Contact the PTA/PTO As nonprofit entities distinct from the schools themselves, Parent Teacher Associations/Organizations can often afford to host speakers that the schools could not.

Not all of these options give you many opportunities to sell your book. That’s ok. Have bookmarks or fliers made that kids can take home and show their parents. Use your school visits as opportunities to stimulate interest in your book for future sales.

3. Library Presentations

If you just want your book on library shelves, you may run into the same issues you face when trying to get it on bookstore shelves. However, libraries often host speakers and authors. They also have their own newsletters and websites to help publicize events to an even wider audience.

Connect with your local acquisitions librarian. Keep in mind that libraries often rely on reviews to select books to display. Consider getting your book reviewed by Library Journal, Booklist, Publisher’s Weekly, and/or Kirkus Reviews, all of which are popular resources for librarians.

Finally, donate some books! The acquisitions librarian may be more willing to host and publicize your event if you offer something in return.

4. Follow your Audience

The founder of Author Marketing Experts Inc. says that book events are only successful if you think outside the box. If every author does a reading or a book signing at the local bookstore, how are you supposed to stand out?

Go somewhere unexpected.

Got a cookbook? Ask permission to sell it outside your mall’s niche cooking shop or at your local grocery store. Just finished a religious memoir? See if churches in your area would let you speak during their fellowship hour. Chances are, if you have done a good job of identifying your audience, you know exactly where you should sell your book.

Be sure to follow our tips for putting together a great presentation!

What kinds of events have you done? Where would you go to market your book?

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  1. I wrote a trilogy called “The Chocolate Series” (Chocolate for Breakfast, Chocolate Fondue, Bittersweet Chocolate). As an author and publisher, I’ve had a hard time getting my books into traditional bookstores.

    So at the beginning of the year, I contacted a local chocolate shop to see if I could do a signing there. The owner was already familiar with my books and loved them, so I made an appearance the Saturday before Valentine’s Day. I sold the books myself (collected money, issued receipts), and they provided a table and some advance promo. I also did some promotion and ended up selling out of books! Yep, I had to take orders for more. I brought lots of people into the store, and almost all of them made purchases.

    • Wow Martha! Way to think out of the box! Congrats on your success, I’m sure the owner is more than willing to work with you more!!

  2. Great post! I did over 350 appearances at schools and libraries when I was promoting my children’s books. It was so fun connecting with my audience! Another great resource for authors is to consider Skype. I connected with many classrooms across the US in this way without having to leave the comfort of my home. Pretty much the same presentation I did when in person I was able to do via Skype for schools. Often times schools have a limited budget so have Skype as an option was a way in which to get your foot in the door to share your message.
    To help other authors with school and library visits I wrote a book called, “Class Act: Sell More Books through School and Library author appearances.”

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